Konta cruises, Watson battles into Monterrey R2

By Ros Satar

  • Heather Watson def. Misaki Doi 6-4 6-7(0) 6-3
  • Johanna Konta def. Mariana Duque-Mariño 6-3 6-3

MONTERREY, MEXICO – British Nos. 1 & 2 got off to a good start with both Johanna Konta and Heather Watson advancing to the second round of the Abierto Monterrey Afirme.

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First up was Watson who started very strongly against Misaki Doi, breaking immediately and stamping her authority on the first set with a second break to go up 4-1 before the Japanese player pegged her back as Watson squandered three set points before losing her serve, before converting on her next chance.

Going up a break straight away again looked very promising for the Guernsey girl, trading breaks with Doi mid-way through the set, but crucially faltered once more while serving for the match at 5-4, fending off three break points and finally handing Doi a way back in on the fourth.

Watson dug deep to break Doi back and had a match point but again Doi came back at her to force a tie-break which the Japanese player dominated.

It looked as though Doi was on her way to her first win over Watson, breaking the Brit in the opening game of the third set, before Watson fought back to level things at 2-2 breaking again to serve for the match once more at 5-3.

Even then the battle was not done, as Watson had to save two more break points before finally converting for her first win and snapping a three match losing streak going back to the Hobart quarter-final at the start of the season.

Fourth seed Konta battled both her opponent and the conditions as she defeated Mariana Duque-Mariño in straight sets. Making her main draw debut as one of the top seeds, after crashing out in 2014 qualifying, Konta was the one with the target on her back. The Colombian stayed firm as Konta had two chances to break her early on before she finally converted on her third attempt.

It was enough to keep her nose in front, needing just the one set point to set up a lead. Duque-Mariño went toe-to-toe with Konta as the pair swapped breaks mid-way through a more competitive set, but Konta stayed the course, breaking on her second match point to advance.

Talking to WTATennis.com, Konta said: It was a tough match, the conditions changed within the match itself. There’s not much I can do about the wind, so it would be silly for it to bother me.

“It’s an external thing, so you’ve just got to deal with it.”

Konta continued: “I had a very competitive match against a very good player. I had to compete really hard and really stay focused, I’m happy I came through in the end.”

Konta and Watson will most likely play their second round matches on Wednesday.

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